Match Preview: Kent v Derbyshire LV= CC, 4 – 7 September, St Lawrence Ground

Monday 3rd September 2012

Men’s First Team

Match Preview: Kent v Derbyshire LV= CC, 4 – 7 September, St Lawrence Ground

Kent v Derbyshire, LV= County Championship Division Two

St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury, 4 – 7 September 2012. 10.30am start

A resounding win at Grace Road last week has put Kent right back into the LV= County Championship division two promotion reckoning. This week they welcome table-toppers Derbyshire to the St Lawrence Ground for the latest crucial encounter that could make or break the Club’s season.

Rob Key’s men currently sit third in the table, 23 points behind this week’s visitors, but, perhaps, more importantly the Invicta County are just four points behind second placed Yorkshire with two games to play. Kent finish off their campaign next week with a trip to Wales to take on Glamorgan. With the weather set fair for this week, it looks likely the next four days could define Kent’s season as they harbour hopes of a return to division one.

Last week, Kent sealed an unlikely 147-run victory over Leicestershire after rain had threatened to derail their promotion hopes. Brendan Nash pummelled a century on the opening day to see Kent up to 350 in their first innings but day two was then completely wiped out by the elements. Contrived declarations, on the final morning, meant the home side were set a challenging – yet gettable – victory target of 283 in 68 overs and they fell well short as Kent surged to victory. Two wickets for Mark Davies reduced Leicestershire to 13 for three before Darren Stevens ripped through the heart of his former club’s batting line-up, returning 5-35, as the Foxes slumped to 135 all-out. The 21 points gathered helped Kent move above Hampshire into third spot.]

In their previous outing, Derbyshire were unable to extend their lead at the top after a rain-affected home match against Essex ended in a draw. Rain once again wiped out all of the second day and the final equation left the hosts requiring 274, in a minimum of 58 overs. After two wickets from leg-spinner Tom Craddock put Derbyshire on the back foot, Wes Durston (60) and Dan Redfern (46) put on 107 for the fourth wicket to keep them in the hunt. However, Craddock returned to account for Durston and David Wainwright, in the same over, ending any victory hopes as Derbyshire batted out – reaching 173 for seven when the two captains shook hands.

Derbyshire’s last visit to Canterbury, for a championship match, was last season when a maiden five-wicket haul for left-arm seam bowler Ashley Shaw was the main highlight for Kent as rain ensured a share of the spoils. The Crewe-born paceman ripped out the visitors’ middle order, on the second morning, after Derbyshire had dominated day one, reaching 370 for three at stumps, thanks to centuries from Wayne Madsen and Australian Usman Khawaja. Shaw’s burst, which included a magic spell of three wickets in five balls, meant the damage was slightly limited as Luke Sutton’s side were all-out for 460.

In reply, Kent lost openers Joe Denly and Key cheaply before Sam Northeast (50), Martin van Jaarsveld (95) and Geraint Jones (59) threatened to rebuild the innings. However, none of the trio went on to make a big score and at 230 for six, Kent looked set to fall short of the follow-on target. It was left to a dogged effort from the tail to see the home side up to a respectable 352 all-out, avoiding the follow-on, in the process, as the lower order contributed 101.

With the game nicely poised on the third day, it was the rain that ultimately determined the outcome. Three interruptions meant Derbyshire closed on 85 for one, having extended their lead to 193. On the final morning, the visitors batted on as Madsen continued his fine form, striking 71, before declaring on 256 for four – setting Kent an unlikely target of 365 off 58 overs. Despite Tim Groenewald bowling Denly for a duck in the first over, more rain prevented Derbyshire harbouring any hope of bowling Kent out as an unbeaten 59 from skipper Key eased his side to 94 for two, when the two captains shook hands on a draw at five o’clock.

This week provides the final opportunity to see Kent in action at the St Lawrence Ground this season. The weather forecast is good and the match promises to be a cracker as both sides hunt down promotion to division one.